How Local Government Became A Voice for ‘Save The Cowboy’
As the APR’s visions became clear to us, we realized they would silence a large part of Montana’s ranching heritage forever.
We could not stand idle.
A chain of events beginning in 2016 prompted Central and North Central Montana local government officials (county commissioners and state legislators) to listen to the community’s deep concerns about the American Prairie Reserve’s goals.
- 2016 Communities voted in favor of a Bison Ordinance.
- 2017 Landowners attached ‘negative bison easements’ to their deeded land.
- 2018 Save the Cowboy banners became common across the state.
- 2019 A peaceful protest was staged in Lewistown at an APR event in 2019.
- Letters to the editor in newspapers statewide became common in protest of the APR’s antics.
- Many articles being published:
- National and International publications such as National Geographic Magazine (February 2020 “Prairie Divide”).
- British publication The Telegraph “Cowboys dig in against conservationists in the battle of the soul of American Prairies” May 26, 2019
- Sierra Magazine “Building an American Serengeti in Montana September , 2019
- Range Magazine (Fall 2019 “Buffalo Special Report – Critical Mass”)
- Western Ag Reporter (January 31, 2019 edition)
- Tri-States Livestock News
- Many more published articles detailing the conflict between the communities and the American Prairie Reserve.
A Turning Point
The American Prairie Reserve requested sweeping changes to grazing leases on 18 historic Montana Bureau of Land Management (BLM) grazing allotmnets.
A silent roar went up in the ranching communities. A landslide of public comments in protest were submitted to the BLM.
‘Save The Cowboy’ movement became stronger and stronger.
2019 Montana Legislature
Ban Bartel (Montana House District 29 representative) sponsored a resolution (HJ 28). The resolution urged the Bureau of Land Management to deny the sweeping grazing proposal changes by the Prairie Reserve on 18 historic BLM grazing allotments.
This resolution was written as a reflection of the voice of the community.
Save the Cowboy gains national recognition
HJ 28 resolution was voted in favor by the Montana legislature. It was sent to the federal level in Washington D.C. giving “Save the Cowboy” movement national recognition. The resolution passed both the U.S. House and Senate.
Save the Cowboy transitions to Montana Natural Resource Coalition (MTNRC)
With major forward momentum, the ‘Save the Cowboy’ movement drew the attention of Jim Carlson with Kansas Stillwater Technical Solutions. Carlson’s group is dedicated to helping grassroots movements like ‘Save the Cowboy’ research the law and transition to an association of local government officials.
Google – Managing partner Mr. Carlson’s 26-year portfolio includes work in environmental compliance, environmental policy, state and federal administrative policy, legislation, technical research, large-scale infrastructure project management, and ground-up creation of state associations.
The communities of Central and North Central Montana gave generously to ‘Save the Cowboy’.
Over $100,000 was raised to fund research of federal land grazing laws pertaining to the American Prairie Reserve’s request to change in use of federal grazing allotments. Jim Carlson was hired to research federal grazing policy and facilitate the formation of the Montana Natural Resource Coalition (MTNRC).
Montana Natural Resource Coalition (MTNRC)
MTNRC is a coalition of county commissioners formed to effectively engage the executive branch government and administrative agencies regarding natural resources such as federal land grazing. This coalition of local government officials gives the grassroots ‘Save the Cowboy’ movement and the communities affected a voice with the federal agencies.